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TSSA proud to launch our first mental health conference with rail safety body

22 March 2017

TSSA will be joining with the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB) to run a ground breaking Mental Health Conference today for the union's reps and members.

Around 60 TSSA members from across Britain's rail industry will attend the conference to discuss and agree strategies our union that our members can use to raise awareness of mental health issues affecting our members.

Railway industry employers, health and safety organisations and trade unions all agree that occupational health is an important issue. The estimated financial cost of absence due to impaired health on the railway is £320m per year – not only is the economic cost of failure to adequately manage occupational health a high one, but the human cost is far higher.

And the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has called for much greater progress on the management of mental health issues by rail industry employers.

The social stigma attached to mental health issues makes it a challenging area of health management and TSSA is seeking to challenge prejudice and increase awareness.

Said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, "Much progress has been made in the field of mental health awareness, but there is still along way to go and TSSA members want their union to to play its part in making Britain work better for all of us. Most senior leaders within the railway industry agree that mental health is a business issue and they recognise that poor workplace leadership or management can and often does contribute to ill-health.

" And we recognise railway industry managers, many of whom are TSSA members, are faced with massive hurdles. 76% of managers accept that they should be responsible for employee well-being, but only 22% have received training. So we still need much greater levels of commitment from directors and other industry leaders to support their managers.

"But railway staff also need the support of well-informed TSSA reps and members if we are to get the real progress we need to change cultures within the industry. I'm proud to say this ground-breaking conference with RSSB is the result of a mandate from our last conference, is an exciting sign of the determination of TSSA members to take a lead to make the positives changes in attitudes towards and, management of, mental health issues in our workplaces happen."

The conference will take place at RSSB headquarters at The Helicon, London EC2 from 10am-4pm.

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